State ID: 18CH537
Vessel Type: Merchant vessel (steamship)
Location: 38°28'27.84"N, 77°16'0.37"W (38.47440, -77.26677) (Duke University, 2016)
Length: 308 feet
Breadth: Not determined
Deadweight Tonnage: 4,000
Builder: Supple and Ballin Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland, Oregon
Owner: Titled to the State of Maryland under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act
Flora & Fauna: Dense vegetation covers the entire vessel
Significance: United States Shipping Board vessel built for World War I effort
The bow section of Dertona is among the most dramatic and architecturally valuable for interpretation of any of the remaining vessels. Although densely covered by vegetation, the hull shows fire trauma, which has exposed planking and frame patterning. The concrete frames in the bow provided support for the hull, which is double planked on the outer-hull in herringbone fashion. Melted ferrous sheets, reduced by intense heat, were found in several locations aboard, occasionally even melted into the woodwork. Although its location has moved, Dertona has been in Mallows Bay, Maryland, since 1929.
Dertona was built by Supple and Ballin of Portland, Oregon, in 1918. Dertona was modeled in the Supple and Ballin-type design, as opposed to a Ferris-type or Hough-type wooden cargo vessel, designed by Fred A. Ballin of the same company. This vessel type included steel topside construction and other features reinforced with steel, and utilized a single-screw, two-deck, three-island type overall design. The vessel type was longer and had a higher deadweight tonnage capacity. By using this model, the size of timbers could be smaller while still increasing carrying capacity with reinforced steel. This was one of the trade offs in the design process, where certain locations had the ability to use different material to produce the contracted vessels. On May 1, 1918, the Supple and Ballin Company claimed a new American wooden ship construction record by assembling and placing 79 frames in a new vessel in a total working time of 44 hours.